Special Markings : NATO Tiger Meet 2006
Ramon van Opdorp reports on the NATO Tiger Meet 2006 which took place at Albacete AB, Spain, on September 25th until October 2nd, 2006.
The NATO Tiger Meet is organized and hosted on a different airbase almost every year. This year the Albacete airbase in Spain was host for the 2006 Tiger Meet, and place to be to photograph lots of tiger details and tails of the gathered participants. A large amount of colorful participants had gathered on the hot Spanish tarmac. The organization was a little bit late with the arrangement of the media days, and the communication could have been much better. However there was a public day organized on Sunday the 1st of October, and this provided the opportunity to travel to the south of Spain for a report on the NTM 2006. The NATO Tiger Meet 2006 took place from 25 September till 2 October, with on the 1st of October the public day, which sadly did not include any flying by the participants, only a static show.
This year’s host was the Escuadrón 142 of the Spanish Ejército del Aire, which was of course present with two of its Mirage F-1 fighters. One with a delicate black and white tiger print on the tail section, and the other F-1 with the logo of the NTM 2006 on its tail. It was the second time that the Tiger Meet was organized by the Escuadrón 142, the first time being back in 1992. Equipped with Mirage F-1s since 1980, Escuadrón 142 is part of Ala 14 together with the Escuadrón 141. Both the 141 and 142 squadrons will fly the Mirage F-1 until 2015, when the first Eurofighters will arrive at Albacete.
Most of the NATO tiger squadrons were present, participants included:
- 4 F-16C/Ds - 192 Filo from Balikesir, Turkey
- 4 Mirage 2000B/Cs - EC 01.012 from Cambrai, France
- 2 Mirage 2000-5s – EC 05.330 from Mont de Marsan, France
- 2 Rafale Bs – EC 05.330 from Mont de Marsan, France
- 4 F-16AM/BMs - 31 Squadron from Kleine Brogel, Belgium
- 3 EF-18A Hornets – 151 Squadron from Spain
- 4 F-16AM/BMs – 338 Skv from Orland, Norway
- 4 F-16AM/BMs – 301 Esquadra from Beja to Montijo, Portugal
- 3 Tornados - AKG-51 from Schleswig-Jagel, Germany
- 4 Tornados – JBG-32 at Lechfeld, Germany
- 4 Mi-24V Hinds – 231.vrl from Prerov, Czech Republic
- 1 Mi-17 Hip – 231.vrl from Prerov, Czech Republic
Other participants at the tiger meet included the 1 Squadron equipped with the E-3A AWACS, but were only operating from the Torrejon base. And the 335 Squadron from Araxos, Greece were present with only two pilots without their colorful A-7E, due to the fact that one A-7E Corsair II from the 335 Sqn crashed on 20 September 2006.
Each squadron always does its best to bring at least one two-seater to the Tiger Meet, so the squadrons can exchange backseat rides. The Tiger Meet also gives the opportunity for all participating squadrons to exchange ideas and information. Therefore almost every day COMAO missions are flown, which include a large selection of different aspects of flying. Missions include CSAR, escort, hostage rescue support, precision attack, border defense against superior forces, TASMO, CAS, support of Special Ops, and so on. In the morning most participants fly local missions with each other, while in the afternoon the COMAOs are flown against 'red forces’, which are aircraft from the host nation, acting as enemy forces.
Overall the meeting was a very nice, and not often seen gathering of several NATO tiger squadrons with their aircrafts in even more exclusive and colorful tiger prints. With as highlights the Mirage 2000C from the EC1/12 Cambresis in a completely black/white covered color scheme. The French Rafale with a very detailed tiger print on the wings, canards and the tail. And the Mi-24V Hind of the 231.vrl from the Czech Republic in the now well-known night/tiger color scheme.
Next year's Tiger Meet will be hosted by the 338 Skvadron at Orland AB, Norway. And now officially carries the name: Artic Tiger 2007. We are looking forward to this one!
Report and photos by Ramon van Opdorp ( view portfolio )
Last Modified: 3 August 2018
3 Aug 2018 - Layout updated